The Yellow Medicine Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) nominated Megan Ulrich, on behalf of Pezuta Zizi Cultural & Environmental Learning & Resource Center, for the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) 2012 Environmental Education Award.
The SWCD is very excited to announce that Megan/Pezuta Zizi Cultural & Environmental Learning & Resource Center was selected to receive the State’s 2012 MASWCD’s Environmental Education Award. She will be honored at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s 76th Annual State Convention to be held in December in Bloomington.
The Pezuta Zizi Cultural and Environmental Learning Center exists to assist people of all ages in developing a connection to the Earth, so they make the best possible decisions affecting the environment. The Center uses the Upper Sioux Agency State Park as its “home base” and has a small, Board of Directors: President - Kathy Gill; Treasurer - Pam Jensen; Secretary - Megan Ulrich; and members Cathy Michaelson, Linda Richter, Jim Muchlinski, and Terri Dinesen, who volunteer for programming and attend monthly meetings. They do not actively seek memberships but have a mailing list of school contacts and other interested citizens of 150 addresses.
Their programs mainly focus on prairie ecosystems, macro invertebrates / water quality, and wetlands. One of their main programs is the Minnesota River Ecosystem Study. They sponsor classroom presentations for fifth graders in Granite Falls, relating to water quality as it relates to the Minnesota River Watershed, wetlands, aquifers, point and non point source pollution, and management of rivers and their watersheds. They take sixth graders on field trips in the fall and spring to the Minnesota River and Hazel Creek to study the water quality through specific water tests and by looking at the diversity in the macro invertebrates found there. They consistently promote this program as they believe that the students are our future land managers. It is important to understand why the Minnesota River is one of the top ten threatened rivers in the entire nation due to sediment, nutrients, and bacteria contaminants.
Information is presented in a non-blaming, fun, informative environment
The Center, along with the Yellow Medicine SWCD have developed Prairie Learning Trunks packed with games, curriculum, pelts /skulls, rubber tracks/scat, and plant, animal and seed identification materials which are loaned out to schools, free of charge. They also loan out snowshoes, binoculars/bird ID books, GPS units for geocaching, boots and macro-invertebrates nets, and field microscopes for water study, and other field identification books.
This award honors an individual or organization for creating innovative conservation education activities, reaching students and a variety of other audiences.